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  • Location: London

Death Makes No Distinction

Death Makes No Distinction

Why a Booktrail?

1790s: Two women at opposite ends of the social scale are both brutally murdered.

  • Genre: Crime, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

Principal Officer Dan Foster of the Bow Street Runners is surprised when his old rival John Townsend requests his help to investigate the murder of Louise Parmeter, a beautiful writer who once shared the bed of the Prince of Wales. Her jewellery is missing, savagely torn from her body. Her memoirs, which threaten to expose the indiscretions of the great and the good, are also missing.

Frustrated by the chief magistrate’s demand that he drop his investigation into the death of the unknown beggar woman, found savagely raped and beaten and left to die in the outhouse of a Holborn tavern, Dan is determined to get to the bottom of both murders. But as his enquiries take him into both the richest and the foulest places in London, and Townsend’s real reason for requesting his help gradually becomes clear, Dan is forced to face a shocking new reality when the people he loves are targeted by a shadowy and merciless adversary.

The investigation has suddenly got personal.

Travel Guide

Travel BookTrail style on Dan Walker’s Tour of London

Lucienne appears on Authors on location here.

She’s also provided a very valuable guide to her novel here:

The Feathers, Hand Court

In Death Makes No Distinction, Dan Foster’s investigation into the death of a poor, unknown woman begins with the discovery of her body at a tavern called the Feathers in Hand Court. Today Hand Court is a pedestrian passage running between High Holborn and Sandland Street.

The other tavern referred to in the scene – The Wheatsheaf – was also in Hand Court. This public house was famous for serving roast potatoes and butter with its home-brewed ale. The oyster shops Dan notices as he leaves Hand Court to go back onto Holborn also existed

Berkeley Square

Louise Parmeter’s house was on the west side overlooking the gardens where the young plane trees were beginning to show signs of regrowth after the winter.

Today many of the Square’s eighteenth-century buildings still survive. They include number 50 Berkeley Square, said to be the most haunted house in England. According to one story, the apparition is the ghost of a madman who was kept locked in the attic. Another version suggests that he is the spirit of a jilted lover.

Hay Hill

Hay Hill in particular was considered to be a dangerous spot. Louise Parmeter’s employment of a pugilistic coachman was a not unusual precaution taken by the wealthy to protect themselves when out and about.The Three Chairmen tavern, where the gawpers buy their drinks, was at the bottom of Hay Hill. However, Louise’s mansion and the mews behind it are fictitious.

St James’s Market

Dan’s investigations lead him to a tavern in St James’s Market. The tavern is fictitious, but St James’s Market, which was particularly known as a meat market, was in the middle of a network of streets and alleys behind Jermyn Street and the Haymarket. The market had been in operation since the early 1660s.

As mentioned in Death Makes No Distinction, in Dan’s time the rich and fashionable still frequented neighbouring places of entertainment such as the Tun and St Alban’s taverns, the card rooms in Charles Street, and the chocolate rooms in St Alban’s Street – but if they wanted to hang onto their valuables they steered clear of the narrow streets around St James’s Market. Today if you visit St James’s Market you will find it is still a haven for foodies, with plenty of choice for eating and drinking.


Wine Office Court, Fleet Street

Dan’s investigations also take him to Wine Office Court. The name of the court is derived from the Excise Office which stood there in the seventeenth century, and which granted licences to wine sellers. Oliver Goldsmith once lived in Wine Office Court, where he wrote The Vicar of Wakefield.

Today the Court links Fleet Street and Shoe Lane, but in Dan’s time it ran into Gough Square.

Russell Street, Covent Garden

At the end of his working day, Dan returns to his home in Russell Street. This was an ideal place for him to live, as it was only a minute or two from the Bow Street Magistrates’ Office. He was not the only Bow Street Runner to live close to his work. Carpmeal, who we meet in Death Makes No Distinction, combined running a tavern in nearby Broad Court, off Bow Street, with his policing duties.

The street was built in the 1630s. In the eighteenth century it was a mixture of shops, lodging houses, coffee houses and inns. In the book, the drinks for a Foster family celebration are bought in the Red Lion at number 13, which was next door to the Russell Coffee House.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Death Makes No Distinction

Destination/location: London Author/guide:  Lucienne Boyce  Departure Time: 1790s

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